A very rare stainless steel wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, black lacquer 'exclamation' dial and bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: 1961
    Reference No: 5508
    Movement No: 85'165
    Case No: 763'059
    Model Name: Submariner
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, 1530, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, 170 mm. maximum length, end link stamped 7206
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex folding deployant clasp stamped 4.68
    Dimensions: 38 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Literature: For another example of a reference 5508 with 'exclamation' dial, please see 100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger, page 186.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 5508, the 'small crown' Submariner, was introduced in 1958 and ceased production in 1962. This reference was the last model to carry the 100m depth rating. This example has a gilt chapter ring, Mercedes hands, and a glossy lacquer dial which is correct and all these attributes are in excellent condition.

    This watch is particularly rare as it displays an exclamation mark at 6 o'clock, which collectors identify as signifying a lower radium amount. By this time, Rolex realized the health hazards of using radium on their dials, and gradually switched to tritium. The case and lugs are particularly thick on this example, and the watch also carries the correct bezel with the individual first 15 minute markers. The bezel is furthermore still retaining its pearl.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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282

Rolex

Ref. 5508
A very rare stainless steel wristwatch with sweep centre seconds, black lacquer 'exclamation' dial and bracelet

勞力士,非常罕有,不銹鋼自動上弦鏈帶腕錶,配中心秒針及黑色漆錶盤,型號5508,1961年製

1961
38 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
HK$120,000 - 250,000 

sold for HK$225,000

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030
thomasperazzi@phillips.com

Ziyong Ho
Specialist
+852 9386 2032
ziyongho@phillips.com

Jill Chen
Specialist
+852 2318 2033
jillchen@phillips.com

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: Two

Hong Kong Auction 31 May 2016